Monday, November 26, 2007

What Sort Of Daemon Are You? Exploring The Lore Of "The Golden Compass"

Got a daemon on your back? This is just the sort of thing that the religious is dogging at the upcoming New Line Cinema presentation of the "The Golden Compass" ("Northern Lights", in the UK). Based on the critically acclaimed legerdemain-themed trilogy novels of Philip Pullman collectively known as "His Dark Materials".

"The Golden Compass" stars Nicole Kidman, Sam Elliot, Eva Green, Daniel Craig and 12-year old newcomer Dakota Blue Richards as Lyra, out to save their world from evil tyranny - and so on ,and so forth. Its a "Lord of the Rings" meets "Narnia" meets "Harry Potter" with a sci-fi/fantasy aesthetic reminiscent of Naboo in the "Star Wars" movies.

Looking at the trailer however, it doesn't look at all like a Frankenstein-stitch-job of movie elements that sold in the past. The Golden Compass may just be able to stand on its own as the next big (although unfortunately not bigger, nor biggest) magical movie franchise.

So what's up with the daemons? In the film's parallel world, people's souls are hosted within their animal-spirit companions or "daemons". Children's daemons can morph according to the child's infinite potential then gradually settles to a particular form as one ages. If you want to know what sort of daemon you might have, head over to the resource link below and play a short game of 20-questions. My daemon profile is below. In the next few days, you can twiddle with it to confirm or change whether my daemon ought to be a "Xanthia".

Quite frankly though, I don't like spiders.

Anyway, here's a sneak peak at the majestic visual style of the movie.

"The Golden Compass" has evident anti-religious overtones, toned-down however compared to the books, despite the fact that its still basically a battle between good and evil story. Pullman is known to be a self-confessed atheist and some Catholic groups have called for a boycott of the film crying foul at the perceived intent to sell "atheism for kids".

Well, that's exactly what the religious groups bellyached before about the Harry Potter series. Let's see how far this "bad" publicity is going to buoy New Line's $200 million plus gamble.

Personally, I don't think one's faith should be affected nor determined by a 2-hour plus sitting in a dark movie house. If you seek to be indoctrinated, don't watch the movie. On the other hand, if you just want to be entertained, then just enjoy the film.

There's a bit of a name game going on with this movie production. Two Ian's, McKellen and McShane (two mac's at that too), are battling it out as the voices behind the armoured polar bears in the film. Then there's Richards - I mean, how many young girl actors may sport Dakota, of all the 51 US States, as their name? What's up with that?

"The Golden Compass" premieres at a Red Carpet launch in London's Odeon Leicester Square on the 27th of November. The film opens worldwide, December 2.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thundercats Movie by 2010

It's still a long way to go but Warner Bros. much gossiped cartoon-turned-movie "Thundercats" is already snarling, err - buzzing the Web wires. It hasn't even gone into production yet but already a lot of mixed reactions are being blown around.

The 80's cult cartoon creation by Rankin/Bass Productions have been rumored to be due for a Hollywood big-screen makeover as early as the late 90's. Thundercats is about a pride of humanoid-felines tasked to combat the evil mummy wizard Mumm-ra in order to save Third Earth.

Ok so that last description didn't sound really nice. But when you're 12 years old in the 80's tuned in to Saturday afternoon cartoons, watching the Thundercats in action was a pretty nifty treat.

Can Hollywood relive the wonder of those by-gone years? Exactly the argument of some disdained by big movie production outfits messing with what they would like to "preserve" in their childhood. Of course there are those who are just big fans of the series, eagerly awaiting the release of the film. For those unfamiliar with the Thundercats, it would be quite a novel experience. If you wish to brush up on your anthropomorphic lore, there's a wiki on the series that can serve as your reference.

If its any consolation to purists of the original cartoon show, WB reportedly dropped all plans for a live action production. So to those experimenting with the thought of Mel Gibson or Hugh Jackman sporting the red locks of Lion-O, scratch it.

The 2010 silver screen incarnation of Thundercats will be completely CGI animation ala "TMNT" (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) or the recent fantasy epic "Beowulf". And to conjure the computerized magic is seasoned video game director Jerry O'Flaherty. He's gonna need all of his Irish-descent luck to bring to life Paul Sopocy's script to a level that most, if not all, would-be Thunderians will watch and hopefully approve.

Related Resources:

Technorati Tag:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

TCP Optimizer: Jumpstart That Internet Connection

When I bought my first modem way back when Windows 3.1 was the "meanest ever" operating system (remember that good ol' File Manager?), I became an addict at IRC trivia chatrooms. I'd spend hours online and that's saying a lot considering everything back then was on dial-up Internet. I swear I could not get off the Net.

Nowadays however it seems I could not get ON the Net. The past weeks I've been frustrated by a slow Web. Sites loaded like sloths, connections dropped off frequently. "Could not connect to" - familiar ain't it. Don't even get me started on file uploads - it just seems never ending.

I called up my ISP and ordered for an upgraded service. I'm supposed to be running on a 512-kbps service for crying out loud. My old dial-up seemed faster. Anyway, guess what my ISP said. It will take a while; about two to three weeks. The Internet had become for me a long waiting game.

Internet Gridlock by 2010

According to a recent report, things can get a lot worse. The increasing demand for broadband may bring the Internet to a screeching halt as capacity can be overrun as early as 3 years from now. Admittedly though, the report may be a tad too alarming. However I am inclined to believe the plausibility of the scenario. Already many of us experience the many boos and bahs of a bandwidth-lacking global network.

Optimize The Net

In the meantime, while the powers-that-be line up undoubtedly expensive propositions how the rest of us may continue to enjoy the Internet when that time comes, we have to make do with what we have. There's a nifty tool from which I tried recently and it seemed to have given my connection a corrective slap. SG TCP Optimizer aggregates a slew of Windows system settings that is supposed to improve your Internet connectivity. It's similar to other net optimizers and boosters in the market, except that SG TCP Optimizer is freeware. And as far as I can see, it's free from malware as well.

Just download the program (see resource link below) and enable it. Select Optimal Settings at the lower left-hand side of the dialogue box and ok it. It automatically creates a backup of your registry although it is always best practice to manually backup your system before fiddling with it. It will then ask you to restart your system.

Personally, it was not a jaw-dropping change for me but there was a noticeable increase in some Web operations. I'm ok with that for now. Until my connection upgrade anyway.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Stay Awake At Work

I recently got into a gig that requires me to work in a different timezone. It's an online project so I get to stay at my home-office. Nevertheless, for the past 2 weeks my body is still adjusting from the flipping of my body clock. Now, my AM is PM and vice-versa.

Nowadays however, this sort of thing is as much commonplace as an email address in a business card. Today's businesses and jobs exposes us all to the possibility of compromising our sleeping routine at one point or another.

The question therefore is how do you stay awake at work? Not unless you have Morvan's syndrome, it may need a little bit more than just a cup of coffee. Before trying to self-induce insomnia, know that sleep deprivation carries with it serious health risks. That said, here are some known practices for staying awake.
  1. Get enough rest. This is a no-brainer. You want to stay awake? You've got to get enough sleep prior to your scheduled waking hours. The day before my first graveyard shift, I dropped my previous afternoon routine and just went on a sleeping binge. Slip into comfortable pajamas. Darken up the room to fool your mind into thinking it's nighttime. Make sure your room is quiet. Either that or employ a source for "white noise" - the buzzing of an electric fan for instance, or a recording of whale sounds. A cup or two of milk can work wonders. Just make sure that you take the horizontal position for six up to eight hours before you're supposed to be awake.

  2. Eat less. A full stomach triggers most people to rest mode. By eating less, you'll probably be "too hungry" to doze off. Also, what you eat determines your sleepiness. No to carbs. They fill up more. Sugary bites helps. Chocolate bars can give you that push of energy during your night shift. Spicy food tend to keep you hot enough to stay awake but a study also shows chili helps you to sleep better. Personally, I take in a chili rich soup during the last leg of my shift; it keeps me on my toes then later, when I do need to hit the pillows, helps me to sleep soundly and makes me feel more energized when I wake up.

  3. Learn to Power Nap. Short 15-minute to half-hour naps helps in keeping you up in the long haul. The object is to get that benefit of feeling rested without actually dozing off to deep sleep. With this strategy, your alarm clock is your best friend.

  4. Exercise your butts. Sleep requires inertia too, meaning you have to be in a position conducive to sleep before you actually snooze off. So take short breaks and get in motion. Do stretches, push-ups or even lift some weights. The spike in adrenaline caused by the exercise will power you up for your shift.
Now here's a video that gives more pointers for the sleepyheads out there.

Do you know other sound advice on keeping awake? Send in your suggestions.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

2007 World Pool Championships: England vs. Philippines - Daryl Peach Wins

At that moment, it was the most dramatic piece of furniture to watch on the planet. A table covered in soft felt cloth, 4 holes at each corner plus 2 at the sides, traversed to and fro by 9 colored balls of cast resin, set to motion by chalk-tipped wooden sticks, held by the hands of two determined men with one goal in mind - become the 2007 World Pool Champion.

After toppling the Hungarian newcomer Vilmos Foeldes yesterday at his semis match, England's Daryl Peach earned his spot at the finals. So too did Philippine contender Roberto Gomez, after he won over Karl Boyes. It was England versus the Philippines in a classic duel that will go down in pool history as one of the best ever played.

"Superman" (Roberto Gomez' monicker) against the bald-headed "Lex Luthor" (referring to Peach although he sports the alias "Dazzler"). The former had the homecourt advantage. The latter, only his experience in international pool tourneys backed him up.

It was a race to 17. Each cue artist matched the other's stroke. They both made costly errors. They also made incredible shots. I've lost track how many times the object ball hung by the edge of the pocket - frustration wrung Gomez's and Peach's faces. Still, both men demonstrated mastery of the game.

During the first part, Daryl Peach led the game but Roberto Gomez played it close. The game tied 2-2, then 3-3. But when Peach tried to pull away at 3-8 Gomez ran a 5-rack streak to even things up again at 8-8. Again they tied at 12 a-piece. Then Gomez threatened to bury Peach at 15-12 with a barrage of safeties and counter-safeties. The Englishman however stood his ground and went on to tie the match 15 all. Daryl Peach didn't look back since. At rack 32, the final score - Gomez 15, Peach 17.

Daryl Peach is the 2007 World Pool Champion!

This time, the Filipino crowd gave the home-bet upsetter a hearty round of applause, unlike the controversy earlier during Peach's match in the quarterfinals against Filipino pool master Francisco Bustamante. The local fans at ringside even shook his hands approvingly and offered up high-fives. That was perhaps a more satisfying catharsis for Peach - a plus after his winner's reward of the 2007 WPC title and $100,000.

Personally, I wanted Gomez to win. I thought we should have another Pinoy champion. But I've since resigned myself to the thought that the tournament indeed belonged to Peach. Pool is one of the few sports that relied largely, almost solely on skill and circumstance. This time around, Daryl Peach had a few notches more skill and circumstance than Roberto Gomez. The younger Gomez will have his own day to win. Congratulations to Daryl Peach and kudos for a game well played to both Peach and Gomez.

Catch the rack-by-rack report from "The AnitoKid on Billiards | Philippine Sports: Daryl Peach Wins the 2007 World Pool Championship!"

Saturday, November 10, 2007

2007 World Pool Update: Peach's Hairline Win Over Bustamante's Heartbreak Loss

Daryl Peach felt the pressure of the unbelieving local crowd as he stared down at the last 9-ball and finally sinking it to edge Francisco Bustamante in their race-to-11 quarterfinals at the 2007 World Pool Championships. Only a few hands were heard clumsily applauding the Englishman's win.

Bustamante shook his hand, his head turned away.

The unnerving atmosphere in what should be a jovial occasion at the 9-ball tourney, was rooted at the previous rack which held up the match for the good part of 10-minutes. The issue - an alleged foul ball against Bustamante on what was a miraculous combination shot on the 3rd and 9th ball that would have given the Filipino cue player the shot at the semis.

Earlier in the match, Peach commanded over Bustamante as the latter committed costly errors at the pool table. Bustamante however regained his composure and with a valiant uphill climb, later takes the lead 9 to 10 over the obviously worried Peach. With just a score away from the quarterfinals win, a good soft break allowed Bustamante to proceed. A slight miscalculation after sinking the 2-ball stopped the white main ball at an angle short of a clear shot at the target 3-ball behind the striped 9.

This forced Bustamante to bank the cue ball on the rail which hit both the 3 and the 9-ball. With a good amount of velocity the 9 made its way to the corner at the far end and dropped in. The audience burst in jubilance. Peach however unconvinced called for a review. The television replay seemed to show the white ball hitting the 3 and the 9 with the 9-ball apparently moving prior to and faster than the object ball. Thus the foul was called by the officiating referee Nigel Rees and was upheld even after a second review called by Bustamante.

Peach proceeded to win that controversial rack for a tie at 10-10. At the next rack, Bustamante didn't even have to stand up. Peach won it 11-10.

But not without a homecourt crowd in eerie disbelief sharing in the heartbreak loss of their local hero.

Parallel Quarterfinals Results
Hungary's Vilmos Foeldes upsets former champion Mika Immonen of Finland in a convincing 7-11 victory. Foeldes and Peach will battle it out in the semis for the chance at the championship later today.

Best Eight To Shoot For 2007 World Pool Championships

They came to conquer. Out of the 128 of the world's best cue masters from 46 countries around the world, the final 8 will match nerves of steel at the pool table for the illustrious 2007 World Pool Championship title and a winner's prize of $100,000.

The quarterfinals are being held as of writing, which will be followed by two semis matches later in the afternoon. The final showdown between the semis winners will rack up tomorrow, Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum in Manila, Philippines 2:30pm Manila time (GMT+8).

Since it opened November 3, 2007 many of the masters already fell. The entire 4-man Australian team and the 12-man USA contingent have been eliminated. Crowd favorites and pool masters like, Efren Reyes (Philippines), Johnny Archer (USA), Earl Strickland (USA) and Ralph Soquet (Germany) were also brought down. From 128, the numbers fell to 64, then 32 then 16. Only the 8 best 9-ball pool players for 2007 remain for the coveted championship.

Four matches are currently playing at the quarterfinals. The Philippines' veteran pool artist Francisco "Django" Bustamante , seeded at number 9, plays opposite 17th seed Daryl Peach of England.

Bustamante is itching for his first world championship win following his exceptional complete sweep of the US Pro-tour Championship and besting USA's Johnny Archer at the finals earlier in June of this year. Among the most popular Filipino pool athletes such as the legendary 1999 World Pool Champion Efren "The Magician" Reyes and 2004 World Pool Champion Alex "The Lion" Pagulayan, only Bustamante survived the gruelling qualifying rounds.

Daryl "Dazzler" Peach comes into the competition fresh from winning the 2007 Euro Tour German Open Championships. On the way to the quarterfinals, he defeated Filipinos Rodolfo Luat and 2006 World Pool Champion Ronato "The Volcano" Alcano.

England's Karl "The Bomb" Boyes competes versus another Filipino Joven Bustamante (not related to Francisco Bustamante). They both debut this year at the World Pool Championships, with the younger Boyes carrying more tournament wins over the up and coming Bustamante.

Number 12 seed and the only former World Pool Champion to enter the last stages, Finland's Mika "Iceman" Immonen (2001 WPC title holder) battles unseeded Vilmos "The Magic Magyar" Foeldes of Hungary. Can Foeldes, the 3-time European Youth Champion come up with an upset and cut Immonen's bid for another WPC crown?

Also at the quarterfinals tables, the final hope of the 11-man Chinese Tai-pei contingent, "Little Monster" Kuo Po-Cheng takes on the third Philippine bet Roberto "Superman" Gomez.

Who is your bet for the 2007 World Pool Championships?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Daily Dotventures' Blogger Birthday Blowout

Because it's someone's birthday today (I wonder who?), Daily Dotventures is inviting all to post here your birthdate along with your blog or website address (no emails please) and your blogname a.k.a. pen name. You don't have to put your birth year if that's your fancy.

Then, on your birthday, we will feature your blog or website here at Daily Dotventures.
No purchase necessary.
No linkbacks required.

How's that for a birthday treat?

This is our way of thanking you our dear readers and fellow netizens for being part of Daily Dotventures. Let's celebrate your birthday online!

Monday, November 5, 2007

A Harrowing Halloween

Have you ever had sleepless nights after watching a horror movie or reading a scary story? Well, there were some news stories on the Web last Halloween week that would certainly keep some people up at night.

The Writers Guild of America have called for a strike as it demanded a "better share" of the revenue pie when it comes to works released on new media such as DVDs, the Internet and on mobile devices. It's certainly a nightmare for "talking heads" on television as they rely on members of the 12,000+ strong screenwriter's union to come up with the stuff that makes them "look good" on TV. The popular talk shows like those of Jay Leno, David Letterman and Jon Stewart, as well as comedy shows such as Saturday Night Live are the first ones to take a hit from the impasse as show producers refused to yield to the writers' demands stating that the issue on revenues from DVDs is a "roadblock to negotiations".

What's really scary about this situation? We're gonna be stuck with re-runs and reality shows until this whole thing boils over.

Although it would be nice to see another Brendan Fraser / Rachel Wesiz team-up for another "The Mummy" movie franchise, this isn't about that. The teen pharaoh circa 1333-1324 BC, in the mummified person of Tutankhamun, will be up for public exhibit at his tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings for the first time since the tomb was discovered 85 years ago. The body will be placed in a climate-controlled enclosure to ensure that tourists won't contribute to further damage at the archeological site.

All I can say is... the curse - remember the curse!

Faster and can run longer and farther than your average rodent, stronger appetite but weighs considerably less, able to give birth to what is equivalent to 80-years old in human age. It's Mickey, it's Jerry - no, it's "Supermouse"! Genetically modified mice were developed by a team of scientists at the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio that has significantly increased ability and performance compared to regular mice. This gives rise to fears from those against transgenic experimentation of future abuse especially among athletes undergoing gene theraphy and similar human-applied scenarios.

One noticeable side-effect of the research - the supermice were more aggressive. This early on, please ban transgenics from the UFC!

Now that would make a great title for a Grisham thriller. And with the past weeks' turmoil in the global banking sector it certainly serves as a grim backdrop for many a-worried investors. The credit market crisis is still in a downward spiral, as the top brass of such traditionally financial stalwarts as Merill Lynch & Co. and Citigroup, Inc. took early exits after their firms suffered "sickening" losses.

As regulators and financial companies struggle to overcome the slumping market, more heads may just roll.

Did you have a harrowing halloween too?

Popular Posts

Other Stories from Daily Dotventures

Blog Watch

Latest Jobs |